Category Archives: Election Postmortem

Setting the record straight on I-900, I-912

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Yesterday, Tim Eyman sent out an e-mail congratulating all his supporters on the success of Initiative 900, saying “All of you helped make I-900 a success.  We received over 2400 donations (average contribution was $247.10).”

It’s worth noting that Initiative 900 would have been doomed had it not been for the tremendous financial backing provided by multimillionaire Michael Dunmire. On June 9th, the Spokesman-Review reported on Eyman’s fundraising:

…According to campaign finance records filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, Eyman has raised about $415,000 for the initiative. Of that, Dunmire and his wife have contributed more than $314,000…

A few weeks later, The Olympian did the same, but with new numbers:

Eyman’s I-900, which proposes an expansion of performance audits for state and local agencies, raised about $617,000. Of that, $489,494 came from a retired Woodinville investment executive, Michael Dunmire, and his wife, Phyllis Dunmire.

Eyman can calculate the total number of donations and produce an average, but he’s hiding the fact that his initiative was primarily funded by one person. There’s no denying that it wouldn’t have been possible without Dunmire. Using the figures provided by the Olympian, Dunmire’s contributions represent nearly 80% of the total amount Eyman raised. That’s a staggering amount.

In his email, Eyman also wrote: “Several recent news stories have made it sound like the Initiative 900 campaign jumped on the Democrats’ accountability bandwagon – quite the contrary…”

Actually, those news stories were accurate. Eyman did jump on the Democrats’ “accountability bandwagon”. House Democrats and the state auditor, Brian Sonntag (D), had already been working on performance audit legislation for years. Thanks to a change of leadership in the state Senate after last year’s elections, the legislation finally made it to the Governor’s desk and was signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Initiatives aren’t difficult if you have a multimillionaire willing to pour nearly half a million dollars into your initiative campaign. If you have the money, you can qualify for the ballot – it doesn’t matter what your issue is or how popular it might be. Western Washington University political scientist Todd Donovan was correct. There was hardly any excitement around I-900. Without paid signature gatherers and Dunmire’s money, I-900 would have been another failure for Eyman.

It is apparent that Eyman is going to ignore the clearly-expressed wishes of voters in the last election and proceed ahead with his initiative to gut a significant portion of the 2005 transportation package.

If Eyman respected the voters’ decision, he’d drop his plans for his 2006 initiative to repeal the rest of the package and move on. But, since it doesn’t appear he’s going to do that, he will be exhibiting tremendous disrespect for the taxpayers of Washington State.

He and his cohorts gambled on the passage of Initiative 912 and lost. They demanded that voters have a say. Voters have had their say, and they’ve put their stamp of approval on Olympia’s work – they want the state to invest in transportation and our future.

The I-695 vote was six years ago, and the I-776 vote was three years ago. The people have just spoken again, and there’s a clear mandate for keeping the 2005 transportation package intact. (And, it should be remembered that King County voted against both I-695 and I-776. Voters in King County have a clear and consistent record of wanting to invest in better roads, bridges, and transit services

Eyman never looks at the consequences of repealing taxes. There is no free lunch. We can’t have services we’re not willing to pay for.

If we want safe roads and bridges, less congestion, a stronger economy, and a healthier state, we simply must invest in transportation.

The Legislature and the people are in agreement. People like Tim Eyman need to get out of the way and stop obstructing our state’s progress. His efforts are not welcome.

Eyman loses big in 2005 election

Election Postmortem

This year’s election will long be remembered as a turning point in Washington’s history. While Initiative 900 passed, Initiative 912 failed in a stunning defeat for Tim Eyman, who had latched on to the effort spearheaded by KVI talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur. Initiative 900 was passing with about 56% of the vote as of late Monday, November 14th, 2005.

Counties defeating Initiative 900 include Skamania, Klickitat, Grant, Adams, Lincoln, Whitman, San Juan, Garfield, Columbia, Asotin, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Wahkiakum (thirteen total).

All of those counties, curiously, are in rural Washington. Many of those counties traditionally have given Eyman has strongest support.

Thirteen counties are also defeating Initiative 912, but most of those counties include major urban areas, though some are rural.

Statement on Initiative 900 election results

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

“As we expected, Initiative 900 is passing with a fairly comfortable margin, according to the latest results,” said Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve. “While the initiative was poorly drafted and not subject to public hearings or other constructive input, voters saw the words ‘performance audits’ on the ballot, and decided that they would like to expand the scope of the auditor’s office.”

Tim Eyman does not deserve credit for Initiative 900. His main financial backer, Michael Dunmire, does. It was Dumire’s money that put Initiative 900 on the ballot. Dunmire poured almost half a million dollars into Eyman’s political committee to support 900.

“We still think Initiative 900 is flawed, and we will urge the Legislature to go back and make some changes to the language during the next legislative session,” Villeneuve added. “In particular, we’d like to see state legislators give the citizen advisory board additional teeth so that all this power is not concentrated in the hands of one official.”

The real Eyman initiative was defeated yesterday

Election PostmortemStatements & Advisories

Initiative 900, Tim Eyman’s attempt to remain relevant, may have passed with misplaced support, but the real Eyman initiative – Initiative 912 – was being defeated by voters yesterday.

Tim Eyman did not sponsor Initiative 912. He was not involved in the signature drive and he didn’t really go out and campaign for the initiative. But he associated himself with the initiative, and put his credibility on the line again with its fate.

Last Monday, Eyman wrote an e-mail to his supporters, which he copied to the media (as he always does) urging his supporters to vote against the “elitist” opponents of Initiative 912. He called it “your one-in-a-million chance to humble powerful.”

It was actually voters’ one-in-a-million chance to hurt themselves, but voters didn’t do it. Instead, they voted Initiative 912 down.

Eyman and fellow I-912 proponents claim that the opposition was full of “elitists”, but that is entirely ridiculous. Initiative 912 failed because of the huge grassroots effort that was put together to fight it. Voters in neighborhoods throughout the state talked to each other and realized what was at stake.

The advertising campaign and all the money spent may have drawn the most attention. But in the end, I-912 did not fail because of “elitist” opposition – it failed because of strong grassroots opposition.

Voters have said “NO” to Initiative 912. So what has happened to Eyman’s credibility? It’s taken another hit. He gleefully proclaimed that the harder we fought against I-912, the greater the backlash would be – in other words, a strong campaign against 912 would result in its overwhelming passage.

So where was that backlash? It was nowhere to be found.

But it gets more embarrassing. In an e-mail dated September 26th, 2005, Eyman told his supporters and the media:

Same goes for I-912, the gas tax repeal initiative. Put a fork in it, it’s done. It’s going to be approved overwhelmingly in November. Why?  Because we’ve beaten this coalition of opponents (Big Business, Big Labor, politicians, and the press) year after year after year in these same tax battles. Even opponents know it’s over.

Tim Eyman was dead wrong. Initiative 912 did not pass. It has failed. The real Eyman initiative on the ballot this fall – the initiative that actually tried to repeal taxes – was defeated in a stunning victory.

Tim forgot one sizable group in the NO on I-912 coalition: the grassroots. Together with the business community, we have defeated Initiative 912. Union members, environmental activists, and Democratic Party precinct committee officers all helped beat back I-912. It’s a landmark victory. Even I-912 proponents (including Eyman) know it’s a landmark victory.

The election is over. Ballots are still being counted, but Initative 912 is finished. Tim Eyman, unfortunately, is not finished, although that’s not because his ideology is popular. Eyman is a demogogue dependent on special interest money to keep his initiative factory in production. I-900 was a product of that very factory. It made the ballot thanks to roughly half a million dollars from Michael Dunmire.

In that same e-mail, Eyman also wrote:

With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine’s underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it.  But of the $8.5 billion tax increase imposed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, I-912 only repeals $5.5 billion of it. “$30 Tabs, Round 3” fulfills I-912’s mandate by repealing the remaining $3 billion tax increase.  It finishes the job that I-912 started.

Eyman needs to get out of the political forecasting business. He’s a failure when it comes to gauging what voters think.

Initiative 912 didn’t start any job or create any mandate for the anti-tax zealots. Instead, its failure vindicated Governor Christine Gregoire and state legislators for their courageous work in passing the 2005 transportation package. The voters have spoken: they support new taxes to pay for safer, less congested roads. They want to invest in transportation infrastructure.

If Eyman respects the voters’ decision, he’ll drop his plans for his 2006 initiative to repeal the rest of the package and move on. If he doesn’t, he will be exhibiting tremendous disrespect for the taxpayers of Washington State. He and his cohorts gambled on the passage of Initiative 912 and lost. They demanded that voters have a say. Voters have had their say, and they’ve put their stamp of approval on Olympia’s work.

The defeat of Initiative 912 is a watershed political event and a great victory. But Permanent Defense will continue to defend the 2005 transportation package until the attacks on it end. Twice the 2005 transportation package has been approved. Enough is enough. Voters have been clear: Leave this investment in our future alone. We’ll be waiting to see if Tim Eyman listens, but we’re not holding our breath.

Eyman initiatives have real consequences

Election PostmortemRethinking and Reframing

Years after their passage, the aftershocks of Tim Eyman’s dangerous initiatives are still being felt.

In an article published in the Everett Herald yesterday, the story of the struggling town of Gold Bar is told. Ever since the passage of Initiative 695 in 1999, Gold Bar has been in trouble. And now, the city is in danger of having to disincorporate.

The city’s troubles are indeed the result of Eyman initiatives, as the article notes:

The reason Gold Bar and numerous other cities around the state are struggling financially can be traced to the passage of the car tab initiative in 1999, which lowered licensing fees to a flat $30 rate.

Since then, Gold Bar has lost about $707,000 in revenue, according to the Association of Washington Cities. That loss is bigger than the city’s 2005 general fund of about $508,000. The city already has tightened its belt, cutting expenses on staff training, laying off staff and restructuring the police service contract with the county, which has saved the city about $194,000, said Hester Gilleland, the city’s clerk and treasurer.

The sad reality is that cities need money to operate. It costs us money to live in a society – something that Tim Eyman has never been intelligent enough to recognize. There comes a point when there is simply nothing left to cut and no belt-tightening left to do: the government simply stops functioning.

Public services, such as police and fire protection, swimming pools and libraries, roads, parks and public schools – aren’t free. Without money to operate those services, the government has no choice but to stop providing them. This seriously endangers the health of Washington state’s communities.

Gold Bar is unfortunately at the end of its string. But the city’s residents haven’t got anybody to blame except themselves.

Hawkins [mayor of Gold Bar] said she finds it ironic that even she voted for Initiative 695 – the major cause of the city’s financial headaches.

The town’s registered voters supported the initiative by a vote of 354-138. Courts eventually struck down the measure, but state lawmakers heeded the will of the people and adopted $30 license tab fees anyway.

In 2002, voters approved a second car-tab initiative, which eliminated a $15 license registration fee that Snohomish County and several other counties had been charging.

That money was earmarked for street repairs. As a result, the street fund in Gold Bar dropped from $17,200 in 2002 to nothing in 2004, Gilleland said.

“Even though these initiatives are appealing, they are giving a death warrant for local government,” Hawkins said.

Voters have been tricked into voting with their pocketbooks thanks to Tim Eyman and his sadistic rhetoric. Even mayors have been sold on the premise that they can have it all and not pay for it. By refusing to look at both sides of the equation, and refusing to acknowledge that tax cuts are equivalent to cuts in public services, Eyman and his cronies have distorted the truth and caused a lot of damage.

The Republican position that we must “live within our means” may sound appealing, but it is insane. Too many years of tax cuts are wreaking havoc on Washington State and its many local governments. If something isn’t done in the next few years, city halls across the state will be forced to close and some counties may even collapse into insolvency.

At a time when many rural citizens are angry about the lack of local control in their quest for “property rights”, they risk losing out and ceding more power to officials that are further away. Many of these people are the same folks that eagerly embraced Tim Eyman’s initiatives.

You get what you vote for, and they will pay dearly for their lack of vision and their self-centered thinking. If they’re upset about losing local control, then they should join the bandwagon in clamoring for the state Legislature to pass a budget that will plug the deficit with new revenues.

Cities and counties need money to operate. They’re out of funding. Without the state’s help or increased local revenue, there is no hope for them. And the state cannot possibly provide them funding when it faces its own budget shortfall.

It’s time for people who have been avoiding reality to acknowledge it. We cannot afford any more tax cuts. We need new revenues and real tax reform. We must fund public services or be forced to stop providing them.

Voters defeat Initiative 892!

Election Postmortem

WE’VE DONE IT! Thanks to your hard work and support, Initiative 892 has been soundly defeated by Washingtonians – right now, 60% of voters are rejecting I-892.

Initiative 892’s failure is Eyman’s fourth defeat in a row and a great victory for this organization. Since our founding in February of 2002, Eyman is 1 for 5 – he’s won on I-776 (though it did not accomplish any of its goals) and he’s failed with I-267, I-807, I-864, and I-892. He has no successes this year. Best of all, Washington’s communities are saved from the proliferation of 18,255 new electronic slot machines in neighborhood bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys.

The 2004 election has been a nail-biter in the presidential race and in other contests which are still not over, but you can take comfort that Initiative 892 is dead, and that common sense has prevailed over Eyman’s lies and misinformation. Eyman, of course, says he’ll be back with a new version of I-892. (He said the same thing about I-864, we haven’t seen anything yet). Eyman is now all talk and no show. His celebrity status is fading away as more and more people realize the fraud he is.

THANK YOU for all of your dedication, your attention, and your willingess to help the cause during this campaign. So many of you volunteered to help that we simply couldn’t get materials to all of you: we apologize, but thank you for standing with us.

In the next few days we will make a couple announcements (in the next issue of Extra!) and let you know where we go from here. But for now, pause to celebrate I-892’s defeat and hope for a good outcome in the presidential race and other tight contests.

Congratulations on our success!

Voters support public services in primary

AnnouncementsElection Postmortem

Permanent Defense today released the results of its research into the fate of levies and propositions statewide on the September 14th primary ballot to the public and the press. The research, which took over a week to compile, is an extensive look at levies and propositions from the twenty four counties (out of thirty nine) that had levies and propositions on their primary ballot.

The results indicate an overwhelming support of public services from voters, says NPI’s founder and executive director, Andrew Villeneuve, who launched Permanent Defense in 2002 as a first line of defense against threats to Washington’s common wealth.

“Out of 132 levies and propositions that were on the primary ballot, 100 were approved. That’s a huge measure of success, especially considering that more than half of the measures that were approved required a 60% supermajority vote and 40% minimum turnout, which they met.”

“Voters are willing to pay for increased taxes because they know that their local fire department, library, school district, or parks system needs money to operate,” Villeneuve said. He noted that communities benefit from strong public services.

“The government cannot provide these services for free. It’s important that we fully fund them so that our communities remain safe, vibrant places to live. And funding public services contributes to the economy because it provides good-paying jobs for citizens.”

Tim Eyman, however, often says public expenditures are too high, and rails against elected officials for not lowering taxes.

Voters clearly disagree with this sentiment, as evidenced by their votes in the primary.

The results of local levies and propositions in the primary election are an excellent measure of what voters think about taxes and public services. They surpass polls and surveys as a way to gauge voters’ moods and feelings towards government.

To create the report, Permanent Defense contacted each county’s auditor or elections officials to determine requirements for each levy or proposition’s passage, as well as election returns and a description of the levy or proposition.

The results, broken down and analyzed by county and by category, are accessible on Permanent Defense’s website.

Eyman claims premature victory on I-776 court ruling

Election PostmortemIn the Courts

Tim Eyman, notorious for making sensational predictions, lying about finances, being deceptive to voters and declining to face the reality of his own tax cuts, has declared victory in the I-776 court ruling which has not yet been made public. Eyman’s “victory” statement is an unfounded gamble based on wild speculation and wishful thinking. On Monday, October 6th, Eyman sent an email which was titled:

Supreme Court to uphold Initiative 776 this Thursday, derailing Sound Transit’s light rail and its pursuit of $500 million in federal funds

The body of the email includes sentences like:

“But the Supreme Court wasn’t buying Sound Transit’s delusional second-subject fantasy…….”

“That’s why it’s so satisfying to watch them suffer with the Supreme Court’s affirmation of I-776. I-776 blows a huge 20% hole into the side of Sound Transit’s battleship.”

“Two days from now (Wednesday afternoon) on the State Supreme Court’s website (www.courts.wa.gov), they will announce that their decision on I-776 will be released on Thursday. Once they do affirm I-776 on Thursday, just sit back and watch the taxpayer-financed political hacks at Sound Transit go into full-blown damage control.”

Once again, Eyman is trying to act as our political meteorologist. The only problem is that he never studied judicial weather and he predicts an overturning downpour when there may be a upholding sun.

Eyman is making big, wild gambles that are based solely on what he heard the judges say to Sound Transit’s lawyers in one day in the courthouse, and what he desperately hopes. Furthermore, his quotes from the email are only ones aimed at Sound Transit. The article doesn’t mention any questions justices asked the Attorney General, who is defending the initiative as required to by law.

PD conducted an investigation following the reception of the email to see if a leak had enabled Eyman to learn the ruling in advance. This is what the State Supreme Court said in an email response to our inquiry:

The court does not announce its decisions in advance, even to the parties of the case. It does try to announce one day in advance which opinions will be published, but the result is never given in advance.

The Attorney General’s office said:

We certainly have no independent knowledge either when the opinion is coming out or what its contents are. In the past, most of the hot “tips” we’ve heard about cases coming down turn out to be unfounded rumors. We will be anxiously awaiting the official ruling when it comes out.

Premature victory declarations will not help Eyman to continue to destroy the State of Washington. Sensationalized messages, as in this case, are as pointless as the tax cuts Eyman promotes, for they come at the heavy cost of uprooting public services.

The impact of Initiative 695: One commuter’s story

Election PostmortemRethinking and Reframing

Christine Dorsey of Kitsap County writes:

I live in Kitsap County and Eyman’s antics have thoroughly disrupted my life. I commuted by ferry to Seattle, so I was very dependent on transit to get me from my home to the Kingston ferry.

When the car tabs initiative passed [I-695] ,I lost my bus route, so I had to drive 16 miles to the ferry terminal and pay an additional 50.00 a month for parking, then the ferry fares jumped dramatically.

I then lost my job in Seattle because I couldn’t get a bus to my office on time and the transit times were cut. All around Tim Eyman’s initiatives wrecked my job and my lifestyle. There still is no bus route in my area and I wonder what the elderly and school age kids do if they don’t have a car.

This is one of many examples of damage resulting from Tim Eyman’s initiatives. I-695 has hurt many people. Yet most conservatives are oblivious to this. They, of all people, should know, yet they continue to support Eyman’s ridiculous anti-tax rhetoric. Have they failed to notice that ferry fares have skyrocketed since the 1990s?

In part, that’s due to the recession, but the implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-695 is primarily to blame.

We have a simple message for our fellow Washingtonians: Don’t let Eyman get away with wrecking your life. Don’t let a fraternity watchmaker from Mukilteo dictate our government’s money flow.

Decline to sign Initiative 807.

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Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.

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